The Labour leader said the only focus now was ‘what sort of a deal we have with the EU and what sort of deals we have with the rest of the world’.
He also signalled a break from the disastrous Jeremy Corbyn era by saying he wanted the party to be ‘proudly patriotic’, and making clear he would not snub state banquets – as his predecessor did when Donald Trump came to the UK.
The intervention, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, came as Sir Keir tries to bring Labour back from the brink after its worst election showing since 1935.
Sir Keir conceded that the the party’s equivocal policy on the EU – which he partly oversaw as shadow Brexit secretary – had been damaging.
Labour leader Keir Starmer (pictured in London this week) said the only focus now was ‘what sort of a deal we have with the EU and what sort of deals we have with the rest of the world’
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the Commons last month. Sir Keir is trying to draw a line under his disastrous stewardship of the party
‘We’ve left the EU, and therefore, the Leave/Remain argument is over and the only argument now is what sort of a deal we have with the EU and what sort of deals we have with the rest of the world,’ he said.
‘It’s very important for the Labour Party to be clear that whatever position we and others may have taken in the last three and a half, four years, that divide between Leave and Remain is now over.’
Pressed on whether he will try to take the UK back into the bloc if he wins the next general election, scheduled for 2024, he said: ‘I don’t think there’s a case for rejoining the EU and I’m certainly not making that case.’
Many Labour figures have been heavily critical of the London-centric attitude of the Corbyn era, blaming the way patriotic Britons were looked down on for the loss of support in working class heartlands.
Sir Keir said: ‘I’m proud that we’re patriotic, I don’t think we should be shy about it, I think it is something we should be very proud of and I think the fact thousands and thousands of activists give up their free time to try and improve our country is a real reflection of just how patriotic, they are.’
The Labour leader said he would not refuse to attend a state banquet given in honour of the US president, as Mr Corbyn did in April last year.
‘I’ve never shied away from these events,’ he said. ‘I’ve attended them when I was director of public prosecutions. No doubt I’ll attend them as leader of the Labour Party.’
And in another swipe at Mr Corbyn, who was pilloried for his failure to deal with a wave of anti-Semitism in Labour, he said: ‘I don’t want a Labour Party that’s just got an effective mechanism for dealing with anti-Semitism.
‘I want a Labour party that hasn’t got anti-Semitism in it.’
Sir Keir conceded that the the party’s equivocal policy on the EU – which he partly oversaw as shadow Brexit secretary – had been damaging
Source: Daily Mail